Nineteen years after it happened, Tess Joseph, casting director, has come out with her #MeToo story, against Malayalam actor and CPI (M) MLA Mukesh Kumar. In three tweets, Tess spoke about her ordeal two decades ago.
She was then a 20-year-old working in the team making the television quiz show ‘Kodeeshwaran’ for which Mukesh was the host. Mukesh had called her room multiple times and changed her room to be next to his, Tess tweeted.
She added that it was Derek O’Brien, politician and television personality whose company did the concept, content and quiz direction, that became her saviour.
I was 20 years old quiz directing #koteeswaran when the mallu host #mukeshkumar called my room multiple times and then changed my room to beside his on the next sch. My then boss @derekobrienmp spoke to me for an hour & got me out on the next flight. 19 yrs on thank you Derek.— Tess Joseph (@Tesselmania) October 9, 2018
In a second tweet, she also accuses Hotel Le Meridien, Chennai, of acting as ‘enablers’ to suit the likes of Mukesh. “I was the only woman in a crew of men. One night when the calls where never ending I stayed in my colleague room. And @LeMeridien chennai you are the worst for being enablers when I asked you why my room floor was different so nonchalantly I was told Mr Kumar asked for it,” Tess wrote.
When a Malayalam channel contacted Mukesh for his response he claimed that he does not remember this incident or who Tess is.
Ever since the #MeToo movement gathered storm in the last couple of days, prominent names from the film industry have been called out by victims. The latest of these include highly respected Tamil lyricist Vairamuthu and Bollywood actor Alok Nath.
Women from across the media industry have come forward in recent days to name alleged perpetrators of sexual misconduct. From Utsav, a comedian associated with the All India Bakchod to the Times of India’s Hyderabad Resident Editor KR Sreenivas, many have been called out on social media.
As seen in several instances of the #MeToo movement, once an allegation surfaced against an individual, many other testimonies of similar behaviour about the person began to emerge.